This is a continuation of a story I was writing some time ago. See here for the last instalment.
I had to take a break from writing it because I was having nightmares. It is a rather scary story and I have a vivid imagination.
This story was inspired by the following word prompts:
Today’s things are: chemistry, biology, glow
James and Jennifer came downstairs after searching Aunt Elizabeth’s room. Her suitcase containing her old-fashioned dresses was still there, as were her teeth in the glass next to the bed, but of Aunt Elizabeth there was no sign whatsoever.
After the night they’d had with all the whispering noises and then the screams it somehow made it all so much more real now that one of their number had disappeared.
James didn’t seem too put out by it. He was his usual taciturn self and he hadn’t liked Aunt Elizabeth at all. Jennifer couldn’t quite say she had liked Aunt Elizabeth, there was something far too creepy about her, but she was very upset at her having disappeared.
“Don’t worry, Jenn, she’ll turn up. I expect she rose early and went for a walk in the grounds.” James said reassuringly.
“What, with all that rain we had last night? And her teeth still in the glass? I don’t think so, James. I want to go, leave this place.”
“What? And forfeit Uncle Joshua’s money? It will all go to that weird organisation he was a member of, the Black Rose, do you really want that to happen? Come on Jenn, pull yourself together. It’s only for one more night.”
Just then they heard the front door open. They ran down the stairs expecting to see their Aunt, but it was Mrs Ponsomby come to make breakfast.
“Good Morning. I’ve brought some bacon and sausages. I bet you could do with a good fry up after a night in this place. Where’s your Aunt?” Mrs Ponsomby stood there carrying a quaint old wicker basket with various groceries in. She appeared reassuringly normal and untouched by the strangeness of the house.
Jennifer responded “We can’t seem to find Auntie, she may well be in the Kitchen, that’s the last place we haven’t checked yet. That and the Cellar of course.”
Mrs Ponsomby seemed to pale at the mention of the cellar. Jennifer thought it was odd. Aunt Elizabeth had that same reticence about going down to the cellar and of course, the warning “Don’t go down to the Cellar after Midnight” Still rang in her ears after she’d nearly done just that. James has stopped her, God only knows what may have happened to her, if not for her Brother.
They all went into the Kitchen. It was cold, damp and deserted.
Walking over to the oven, Mrs Ponsomby tried to turn it on, but nothing happened. It was an electric oven and it became apparent that in the storm, the electrics had blown.
“Where is the fuse board Mrs Ponsomby?” James asked.
“It’s down in the cellar, just at the foot of the stairs. There’s a hand torch just inside the door. You don’t mind going down there and turning the trip switch back on, do you? I just hate going down there unless I can’t avoid it.”
“No, I don’t mind. Jenn, you stay here and help Mrs Ponsomby, I’ll only be a jiffy.”
James opened the door to the cellar, it creaked in a most theatrical manner but that was understandable, as no one seemed to want to open it. He found the hand torch just inside the door and turned it on. It gave a very yellow beam of light, but it was sufficient to see by. The wooden steps descended quite steeply into the gloom. An unpleasant dank smell, dusty and cold, like a tomb assaulted his nostrils. James walked slowly down the steps. As well as the light from the torch, there was a faint glow coming from the deep recesses of the cellar. It made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.
At the bottom of the stairs, he found the fuse box, which he opened. He quickly found the trip switch and flipped it up, restoring electricity to the house. He heard a high pitched whirr that was the only indication that it had worked. Next to the fuse box was a light switch and James quickly reached out and flicked that on. He wanted there to be more light, he wanted to dispel that horrible sensation at the back of his neck that someone was standing there staring at him.
The light came on, temporarily blinding him, but he blinked and his eyes adjusted, revealing nothing.
No-one was standing there, but James suddenly had his first proper glimpse of the Cellar.
It appeared to go the full length and breadth of the house, brick arches and pillars divided the space into chambers. The next chamber along from the stairs was the largest one. James was surprised to see it was fully furnished with bookshelves and two leather armchairs. There was an old-fashioned rug on the floor, a tiger skin that had its head on. The glass eyes seemed to be staring at him.
In the corner, there was a workbench on which were several glass objects of the find you would find in a chemistry lab. On the shelves were several jars containing chemicals, some of which emitted a kind of eerie glow. James took a step back when he noticed that some of the jars contained human organs, hearts, livers and even brains, like a macabre biology experiment.
James was strangely attracted and repelled by the strange objects in equal measure. He found himself fascinated, a fascination that threatened to become an obsession. He couldn’t just turn and leave, he had to explore further.
James walked over to one of the large armchairs. Next to the chair was a table on which a very ancient looking book rested. The leather was crumbly but it had words written on the cover. The title was ‘Malleus Maleficarum’. James didn’t know any Latin, but he had heard of this book, it was notorious and rather alarming.
Just then he heard a voice calling. It was Jennifer.
“James, James? Are you OK, you’ve been down there for a long time. The electric’s back on, you can come back now. Breakfast will be ready soon.” Jennifer sounded nervous as she shouted to him.
“I’m coming back now, Jenn. Don’t worry.”
James reluctantly left the cellar, but he meant to return to explore further later. Now he had seen it, he couldn’t stay away.
End of Part Five.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 24/September/2018